Success Story

Innovative products through innovative production

Milling / turning center enables the complete machining of complex pump parts

The Herborner Pumpentechnik company, with more than 140 years of tradition, achieves impressive successes with innovative pumps. The basis for this is equally innovative production equipment, which includes a fully automated manufacturing system with two machining centers. The newly installed Heckert HEC 800 HV MT milling / turning center, in particular, ensures economic production and high product quality for large and small castings with reliable complete machining.

Whoever wants to survive as a medium-sized pump manufacturer among larger competitors needs to offer something special. Innovations are the key to success - for its own products, but also in the equipment that is available to them for development and production, as Sascha Korupp, General Manager and Technical Director of Herborner Pumpentechnik confirms. But first of all he points to another success factor: "The employees are particularly important. Our development department's delight in experimentation, for example, repeatedly leads to results that are reflected in longevity, efficiency, and the high practical value of our products. In order to implement the ideas in production, we also depend on employees who know how technically challenging components can be produced economically on modern machines."

Herborner Pumpentechnik's growing market share and the success of new products, such as their 100% coated pumps launched on the market in 2012, show that the company is well positioned in all of these areas.
Their so-called HPC coating (Herborner Pump Coating) is 500 to 1000 µm thick, extremely smooth, and can even compensate for small irregularities or cavities. "This enabled us to improve the hydraulic efficiency by up to 10%" says Sascha Korupp. "In addition, it provides high corrosion resistance, thus enabling the use of gray cast iron components where otherwise much more expensive stainless steel or bronze elements would be required."

Herborner Pumpentechnik followed this innovation path systematically, which among other things required production changes, as the technical director explains: "Our pumps have a completely modular design and consist primarily of four castings: pump casing, back panel, impeller and cover. These parts needed to be designed in a more complex way for the coating, meaning we are dependent on state-of-the-art technology for the machining process. In addition, the pumps in demand are getting bigger, which is another good reason to invest in a new, larger machining center."

Complete machining of all castings

Production manager Klaus Tollerian specifies the requirements: "Since we now produce pump sizes up to a nominal diameter of 400, we need a sufficiently large working space. These components, both impellers and housings, require turning as well as drilling and milling operations. To start with, we were worried that we would have to invest in a vertical lathe as well as a machining center." But with the Heckert HEC 800 Athletic HV MT milling / turning center, the Herborners found a suitable alternative that combined both capabilities in one solution. Because the horizontal machining center, with its horizontal / vertical milling head and the powerful direct drive NC rotary table provides the optimum conditions for complete machining of all the castings.

In the preceding benchmark test against other machines, Heckert GmbH, which is part of the Starrag Group, a global technology leader in precision machine tools, already had a head start, because Klaus Tollerian and his staff have over 15 years of experience working with the Chemnitz-based company and its machines. Back in the day, a Heckert CWK 630 replaced a Japanese milling center and proved its worth over the years with its performance and outstanding reliability.
Sascha Korupp adds: "The cooperation with Heckert's staff always took place at a particularly high level. It is crucial for us that we are looked after competently and reliably from sales to service, and that the reaction times are short. At present no other equipment supplier can compete with Heckert in this respect, so we feel in very good hands with them as partner."

10 %

improvement of hydraulic efficiency

Process reliability and availability - the pillars of successful automation

Part of Herborner Pumpentechnik's successful strategy is to permanently optimize their production processes. Interlinking machines and pallet storage was seen early on as an essential part of realizing unmanned night shifts in order to retain competitiveness with production based in Germany. Hence, in 2008, the pump manufacturer put a fully automated Liebherr production system into operation, in which two Heckert centers have since been integrated.

"The system has proven itself in the past eight years," explains production manager Tollerian. The high process reliability and availability of the Heckert machining centers, without which reliable automated operation is not possible, played a major role in this. "Our new HEC 800 Athletic HV MT, which replaces one of the two integrated CWK 630, will also not disappoint us in this respect", the machining specialist is convinced.


The machine concept, with its rigid, thermo-symmetrically designed main assemblies, the digital AC feed drives, and elaborate profile rail guides and ballscrews in all linear axes, provides a solid basis for the necessary reliable processes. In addition, various control and monitoring devices are integrated. In the standard version, this includes a vibration sensor on the spindle, via which the machining process can be monitored and optimized. Holger Quintus, Regional Sales Manager of the Starrag Group, explains: "The sensor includes an analysis software, which recognizes any tools with excessive imbalance as well as wear on the spindle bearings. This makes it possible to plan servicing in advance and prevent sudden failures. Because it also shows vibrations during machining, the process can be optimized with regard to higher quality and longer spindle life."

For Klaus Tollerian there are further important details: "The working space is designed so that the swarf falls freely into the centrally arranged chip conveyor. This prevents swarf accumulations forming in the working space, which would in turn jeopardize the process reliability." He also approved of the use of solid sheets instead of telescopic covers to optimally protect the functional elements from swarf and coolant. This permits higher accelerations and rapid traverse rates, since the sheets do not have to be carried along with the linear axes.

While other providers' machines were unable to combine all the benefits of the Heckert HEC 800 Athletic HV MT in one system (or only do so with costly extras), the total package with its compatibility to existing equipment, high performance, and cost advantage was crucial in making the decision, Klaus Tollerian argues. "In addition, with the machining area being about a third larger than on the CWK 630, we are now able to produce a far wider spectrum of parts. This suffices even for large impellers - our pump sizes now extend up to a nominal diameter of 400 - which push our cycle lathes to their limits."

Fast rotating table and additional axis in the head extend the range of applications

The machine configuration selected with a horizontal / vertical milling head and an NC rotary table played a crucial role in the success. The HV-head has two working positions, horizontal and vertical, in which it can pivot even when the spindle is running, significantly reducing unproductive downtimes. If the respective end position is reached, the head is locked in a Hirth coupling. The positive fit thereby produced contributing to a high stability, which is especially important in turning. The additional decoupling of the drivetrain in turning mode directs any shocks in case of interrupted cuts to the housing, thus sustainably preventing damage to the spindle bearings. In addition, the tool-holder HSK-T100 is used for turning, which enables precise radial positioning. This ensures the familiar Heckert high accuracy also in turning.

The high-precision NC rotary table, which can handle up to two tons, fulfils another prerequisite for the internal machining of the large impellers with its output of 57 kW (at 100% duty), a speed of up to 500 rpm, and maximum torque of 2520 Nm. Holger Quintus also points out the automatic imbalance detection, which comes as standard in the HEC 800 Athletic: "An integrated program measures the imbalance and indicates the position and size of the necessary counterweights so the operator can quickly eliminate it."

Thanks to the overall kinematics of the Heckert HEC 800 Athletic HV MT, the Herborner Pumpentechnik machining team can now process many parts in a single clamping, where previously several were required. "We have cut the processing time by up to a third", says Klaus Tollerian enthusiastically. He is equally pleased to note that the existing programs of both machines in the Liebherr system can be used without modification, and all the previous components can also easily be processed on the HEC 800 Athletic HV MT.

In order to create the necessary conditions, they had a modified 630x630mm machine table installed instead of the usual 800 table. Another feature is the automatic loading hatch in the machine roof, through which outsized workpieces can be simply loaded. And the production manager mentions one more point in its favor: The tool magazine with 180 pockets, which can automatically handle tools up to a diameter of 340 mm and a length of up to 800 mm. "This capacity is sufficient for every task despite the enhanced range of applications. There is even enough room for backup tools. "In spite of its large capacity, the tool magazine requires a much smaller footprint than other solutions on the market, which is an important argument in confined conditions.


The Herborner Pumpentechnik company extended the scope of their interlinked production system - which already included a CWK 630 Heckert as a second machining center - with a Heckert HEC 800 HV MT milling / turning center. Both machines ensure reliable automated operation with their high process reliability and availability, also in unmanned night shifts. With its large working space, the horizontal / vertical milling head, and the fast-rotating machining table, the HEC 800 HV MT offers the ideal conditions for drilling, milling and turning large and small castings. As a consequence of this complete machining, processing times were reduced by up to a third.

hec 800
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